We love Rogena Mitchell-Jones and her fierce dedication to both authors and animals. She points out that she’s “a reader, not a writer,” but with her knowledge and expertise, she continually brings her author’s books to the next level. In addition, Mitchell-Jones cofounded an animal rescue organization in 1999 and takes care of several of her own fur kids, one of whom is disabled.
What is your business? What do you do?
My company name is Rogena Mitchell-Jones Manuscript Service. I am an Independent Freelance Editor, working with mostly independent, self-published authors internationally. I take the manuscript of a published author, or an aspiring author, or writer, and I cover it with red ink. Well, not really. I do, however, read their story, word for word, line by line, looking for spelling and punctuation errors, point of view issues, inconsistencies in the story and plot, and many other issues along the way. In other words, I do a thorough, substantive, comprehensive and developmental, line-by-line, in depth editing manuscript analysis. I don’t just run a spell and grammar check as I’ve seen other editors do. I read the story word for word.
How did you get started?
Well, it was sort of on ‘accident’ in that I really only wanted to help authors with a need after I finally broke down and purchased my first Kindle. (You know, it was difficult to move away from the feel and smell of a ‘real’ book, and to make the switch to digital.) With my Kindle, I began to look for ‘free books’ or inexpensive books, and that caused great frustration. I found myself aggravated with the lack of editing in published books, especially when it would occur throughout the entire book. Even to the point that I would have to reread sentences two and three times just to figure out the correct meaning. (You know how they say ‘punctuation matters’ like… “Let’s eat grandma.” versus “Let’s eat, grandma.” Changes everything.)
What advice do you have for others wishing to start their own business?
Figure out if you think there is a chance you would be able to make a living at something, and then take the leap of faith. With me, it was all about following a dream—a dream of being my own boss. After being in the newspaper industry for 25 years, I was ready for a change.
I actually had thought I would be doing this for free, in exchange for ‘free books’, but I immediately had another author contact me telling me that would not be a good idea. She said I would have authors ‘beating down my door’ due to the high demand for credible editors at affordable rates. She encouraged me to put the word out that I would do a few for free in exchange for references, and then to come up with low rates, build a website, and begin marketing. So I did just that.
Once I put the word out that I would like to proofread for authors, everything just started falling into place. I started receiving emails from authors who were willing to pay for my services. The support I received from so many was unbelievable. The encouragement from others in the writing community has been tremendous.
Then there was a conversation I had with my father. He gave me the final push to do this full time. He told me that the worst thing that could happen was that if it didn’t work out, and I would need to go back to work in a ‘regular job.’ However, if I didn’t at least try, he said there isn’t anything worse than regret. With the words from my dad, the support of my spouse, and the encouragement of the authors I had worked with, I took the leap and resigned from my job in July of this year.
Tell us some personal things about yourself.
Personal things about me? Aw, shucks. My partner and I, along with our wonderful cats, live in South Jersey. I am originally from the Midwest, the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. I have one daughter who resides in Houston, Texas. I am an animal lover and advocate. I co-founded a cat rescue organization in 1999, in Kansas City, actively involved as vice president and financial officer for ten years. The organization is still in operation today. My favorite thing to do is to spend the afternoon on the beach with a good book!
What drives you? What is your inspiration?
What drives me and is my inspiration would be partly my upbringing, and my work ethics instilled to me by my father. He is an amazing man. I am inspired also by the effort it takes for the authors to write a novel. Their talent makes me want to polish their work so it can be near perfect for their readers. It gives me great satisfaction to know their readers may not feel like tossing their Kindle across the room as I wanted to so many times. I strive to always be an inspiration to others, too. So working with the authors and the writing community gives me that outlet of inspiring and promoting the author as a person, and their published works.
How can our readers contact you – E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, blog, website, etc.?
I can be reached on all forms of Social Media, including:
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/rogenamitchelleditor
It’s About the Journey Blog: http://www.rogenamitchell.com/my-blog.html
Facebook Friend Page: https://www.facebook.com/rogena.mitchell